Arts center presenting Manierre Dawson exhibit

September 5, 2012

The Ludington Area Center for the Arts is hosting a new exhibit, Manierre Dawson: Engineer/Artist.  Manierre Dawson, a native of Chicago, lived in Riverton Township in Mason County as a fruit farmer for fifty-five years. Recent scholarship suggests he was also America’s pioneer of abstract art and is considered to be the first artist to paint using only non-representational forms. One of his paintings even hung in the famous Armory Show when it was held in Chicago in 1913. The exhibit uses didactic panels to trace the evolution of his work and shows how elements of his paintings, leading up to and including his first abstractions and his conception of abstract art itself, are directly related to his civil engineering training. The exhibit is the result of ten years of research by Dr. Randy Ploog, Affiliate Assistant Professor of Art History at Pennsylvania State University.

In conjunction with this exhibit, Sharon Bluhm, author of Manierre Dawson: Inventions of the Mind, will give a talk about the artist and his life.  Bluhm, a professor of English at West Shore Community College for over twenty years, became interested in Manierre Dawson when she moved into the Dawson family’s Riverton home in 1977. The book is a culmination of years of research and includes an historical overview, family photographs, examples of the artist’s work, and selections from the artist’s personal journals.

In her book, Bluhm focuses on the story of Dawson’s life, especially in Mason County where he produced many remarkable abstractions inspired by the beautiful Ludington area.  The author will highlight the artist’s life illustrating her talk with images of his paintings and sculptures. The book, Manierre Dawson: Inventions of the Mind will be available for purchase after the talk.  Both the exhibit and the talk will be held in the Main Gallery of the Ludington Area Center for the Arts.

Sharon Bluhm’s presentation is scheduled for Thursday, September 27at 7:00pm and the exhibition runs from September 11 through September 29 in the Arts Center’s Main Gallery.  Gallery hours are Tuesday-Saturday, Noon-5:30pm.  For more information, call231-845-2787 or visit

About the Ludington Area Center for the Arts

The Ludington Area Center for the Arts is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting and supporting the arts in West Michigan. The Center is located at 107 S. Harrison in the historic former home of the United Methodist Church in downtown Ludington. Parking for the Center events is available in the public lot south of the Center at the corner of Harrison and Loomis Streets. For more information about the Ludington Area Center for the Arts please visit, call 231-845-2787, or email